NaNo Prep: What’s Your “Next Big Thing”?

by Jami Gold on October 25, 2012

in Random Musings

Outdoor billboard with text: It's Coming... The Next BIG Thing

I don’t usually participate in blog tagging posts, but every once in a while, one comes along that fits in well with my blog. On Tuesday, Janice Hardy tagged me for The Next Big Thing Blog Hop.

As NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month—write a 50K word novel during November) is all about writing “the next big thing,” I decided this would be a fun tagging game to play. I’ll answer the official Next Big Thing questions about the story I’ll be working on for NaNo, and down below I’ll tag five others who aren’t just writers, but are some of my NaNo Writing Buddies—because we’re all in this together.

Then in the comments, everyone is welcome to join in with boasting or bemoaning or anything in between about their Next Big Thing. *smile*

Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing

What is your working title of your book?

For the first time, I came up with a title I loved (I’m usually awful with titles). Pure Sacrifice

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Even though I write paranormal, I don’t write the typical stories about vampires (sparkling or non-sparkling). I love finding other creatures or approaches to the unusual. This one is about a shapeshifting unicorn, but not the glitter and rainbows kind. Nope. Here, everything you think you know about unicorns is a lie. *evil grin*

What genre does your book fall under?

Paranormal Romance

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Anyone who’s checked out my Pinterest inspiration board can see that unique faces or eyes or expressions appeal to me more than simply a celebrity name. So I don’t have a good answer for this because many of the characters of this book are inspired by “no names.”

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Ugh. You all know I’m terrible at this, right? *smile*

A shapeshifting unicorn responsible for protecting the chosen virgin from the modern world discovers she’s the biggest threat of all.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Not a clue. I’m nowhere near that point yet.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I wrote the first act in about 3-4 weeks, but life has conspired to limit my writing time beyond that. However, I will finish it during NaNo, so that would be a total of about 2 months. (Yes, I’m a NaNo Rebel because while I’m writing 50,000 new words, I’m continuing a project I already started. Trust me though, post-Act One is the hardest part for me, so it’s not like I’m letting myself off easy. *sigh*)

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

My favorite author is Kresley Cole (like her Immortals After Dark series) because she mixes great action, characterization, humor, and depth. I’d love for my paranormal romances to end up in a similar vein.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Unicorn stories haven’t been done to death, and I knew my worldbuilding twists would make it even more unique. Other than that, my reason for writing this book is the same as why I wrote all my other books—the story wouldn’t leave me alone.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Hmm, what can I say without giving too much away… There’s a virgin, a shapeshifting unicorn, and a seduction. And nothing is as it seems.

My five NaNo Writing Buddies to tag:

Buffy Armstrong is the one I’ll be crying to when I fall behind in NaNo words (she’s been there—she’ll understand). Meeting her in person remains one of my favorite things about going to the RWA National Conference this past summer.

Melinda Collins will be my music supplier for all that writing time. In addition to helpful blog posts, she often offers weekly roundups of writing links too, and—bonus!—she’s a wonderful person and a great friend.

Gene Lempp helped me the last time I did writing sprints, so I’m hoping he’ll help keep me in line for NaNo sprints too (pleasepleaseplease!). Another great friend, he also does a fantastic roundup of writing links every week on his blog.

Todd Moody is more than a great friend—he’s also exceedingly brave. When I needed an emergency beta read, he volunteered—even though it was a romance story! *snicker* His blog posts are often equally brave, full of thoughtful observations about life.

Jordan McCollum is one of the first fellow writers I met after starting on this path. She’s written several free writing guides (available off her blog) that really helped me when I was a clueless newbie.

Rules for The Next Big Thing Blog Hop:

***Use this format for your post
***Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (work in progress)
***Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.

Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing:
What is your working title of your book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Include the link of who tagged you and this explanation for the people you have tagged.

*****

What’s your “next big thing”? Feel free to answer any of the above questions, or just share what makes you most excited about working on this project? What’s the trickiest aspect of the story?

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45 Comments below - Time to Add your own.

Buffy Armstrong October 25, 2012 at 6:49 am

Hey Jami, Thanks for tagging me! I loved meeting you, too! I don’t usually participate in tags, but this one does sounds like fun! I’ll work on it tonight! I like exclamation points! Too much coffee.

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Jami Gold October 25, 2012 at 8:02 am

Hi Buffy,

That’s exactly what I thought–about this one sounding fun. Not about the exclamation points. ;) Although I admit I do like them too (as my Twitter and Facebook updates give plenty of evidence of–LOL!). And I don’t even drink coffee, so what’s my excuse? Thanks for the comment and I’m so happy to be doing NaNo with you! *hugs*

Edited to add: You can find Buffy’s answer to the tag here.

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Buffy Armstrong October 25, 2012 at 9:00 am

Happy to NaNo with you! It’ll be fun. I promise. :-)

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Jami Gold October 25, 2012 at 11:51 am

Hi Buffy,

With you? I know it will be fun. :D

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Melinda S. Collins October 25, 2012 at 7:08 am

Hi Jami!

Aww, you are too sweet! *hugs* You’re a wonderfully amazing person and friend also!

Thank you so much for tagging me! This is just in time for the end of my month-long blogging break – woo hoo! Can’t wait to tackle these questions this weekend. :)

Ooo, shapeshifting unicorn – fun, fun, fun! You always come up with the most unique story ideas. Can’t wait to hear how the post-Act 1 writing goes. And it looks like your online class is going to help me answer question #6. ;) Which I’m going to do right now: here’s a quick synopsis/premise of my NaNo story (like you, I’m adding new words to a current WIP – post Act 1): In a world where 60% of the world’s population was annihilated by the Renkulian virus, a young woman must face her vampyre coven leader and fiance when she discovers the truth behind the virus’s creation. <– Ugh, so not perfect, but it'll do for now, right?

Enjoyed the post today! Looking forward to learning more from you tonight! *hugs* :D

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Jami Gold October 25, 2012 at 10:53 am

Hi Melinda,

Would you believe I’ve been so busy preparing my “planning for NaNo” class that I haven’t had time to plan my story? LOL!

Are you talking about question #5 about the synopsis? Ooo, your comment reminds me that the sentence I put there was one I did a couple of months ago and not in the structure we talked about in class. I should do that… ;)

For yours, I’d say that it would sound less clunky to others (for you, your sentence works fine!) simply by cutting out some of the too-detailed (for a one-liner anyway) details. Like: In a world where most of the population was annihilated by a deadly virus… My only other question would be whether the leader and fiance are the same person or two different people. Maybe a slash or a “…leader–and fiance–when…” type structure would make that clearer if they’re the same. In other words, that’s a great sentence for you to work with for planning, and it would need only a few tweaks to make it “pitch-worthy.” Good job! :) Thanks for the comment!

Edited to add: You can find Melinda’s answer to the tag here.

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Melinda S. Collins October 25, 2012 at 11:26 am

Hi Jami,

*headdesk* Yes, I meant #5. Apparently I can’t count. It’s a good thing I’m a writer – Word can do that for me! LOL!

Thank you for the notes on the premise! You’re right, it’s really just what I threw together yesterday to go with my current WIP, and it would definitely need to be tweaked for a pitch. So thank you so much for the advice! :D See…. this is why you’re so darn amazing! ;)

Can’t wait to NaNo with you this year! *hugs*

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Jami Gold October 25, 2012 at 11:51 am

Hi Melinda,

LOL! Hey, we all know about me and math, so I understand. ;)

Yes, it would need to be tweaked, but not by much to make your one-line elevator pitch. So it really is great for a thrown-together stab at it! :D Yay for NaNo projects! *hugs*

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Gene Lempp October 25, 2012 at 8:21 am

Absolutely, Jami – can’t wait to sprint with you!

My “next big thing” is a novella series currently called “Ben Thyme”, which is also the protagonist. It’s alternate history (of course) with elements of paranormal, science fiction, fantasy and horror – oh, and a romance line (cause love moves reality). Nothing to bemoan except the rush of time getting ready for NaNo – otherwise, I’m totally in love with this story!

Looking forward to NaNo with you and all the other fantastic writers out there :)

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Jami Gold October 25, 2012 at 11:28 am

Hi Gene,

Yay! Sprinting is so much fun–and in one or two hours, you get all your NaNo words for the day in. Bonus!

Alternate history stories are so interesting. I can’t wait to hear more about yours! :) Thanks for the comment!

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Louisa Bacio October 25, 2012 at 8:31 am

Very much enjoyed the introspective nature of these questions and responses. Thanks for sharing and good luck on NaNo!

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Jami Gold October 25, 2012 at 11:29 am

Hi Louisa,

Thanks! I started off very tentative about my decision, but now I’m really excited about NaNo. :) Thanks for the comment!

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Jordan McCollum October 25, 2012 at 9:16 am

Aw, thank you, Jami! I don’t remember you ever being a clueless newbie (well, not any more so than me!), but the heyday of Edittorrent comments . . . those were the days!

One of my favorite places to look for visual inspiration for characters is Hollow Art. They really feature 100px x 100px pictures for LiveJournals and the like, usually from TV & movies. You can search by a physical attribute (hair color, age, etc.) or name, and possibly find hundreds of pictures of different expressions and the like. I just browse through the pictures until I find someone who inspires me to be my character–usually someone I’ve never heard of. Didn’t find anyone for my Nano hero, though, so I’ll be checking out your Pinterest board with great interest ;) .

My Nano project will be different from everything I’ve written. Which is exciting–and a little scary. I guess I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow ;)

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Jami Gold October 25, 2012 at 11:32 am

Hi Jordan,

I got such a huge influx of information from those days, mostly from Teresa and Alicia, but also–Yes!–from you. :)

Ooo, thanks for the tip about Hollow Art. I’ll have to check them out. Good luck on your NaNo project and I can’t wait to hear more about it! ;) Thanks for the comment!

Edited to add: You can find Jordan’s answer to the tag here.

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angelaackerman October 25, 2012 at 10:18 am

One thing I love about your writing is that you can always find a fresh twist to well-love mythology. I’m cheering you on, Jami!

Ange

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Jami Gold October 25, 2012 at 11:49 am

Hi Angela,

Aww, thank you! And didn’t I see that you just joined in the NaNo fun? Yay! Good luck with your project and thanks for the comment!

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Tamara LeBlanc October 25, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Ohhh, I LOVED this!!
I always enjoy hearing about what inspires authors.
I’d actually like to use questions like these on my own blog…is that allowed? You know, it would be a questionaire for myself to answer. I think it would help me speak to my muse. And maybe it would inspire others.
Let me know if my desire is a no no.
Thanks for sharing your answers and also for the blog hop links. I’m excited to see what the other authors say!
Looking forward to tonight!!
Tamara

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Jami Gold October 25, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Hi Tamara,

I dub thee an honorary recipient of The Next Big Thing Blog Hop. You may go forth and answer these questions on your blog and even tag 5 more people if you would like. *tries not to accidentally knock you unconscious during the dubbing* :D

I understand–I thought these were great interview questions, kind of a mix of a several different ways to look at our story. :) Thanks for the comment!

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Amanda October 25, 2012 at 1:10 pm

*wails* I wanna NaNo, too! *stops whining about lack of time* Mind if I steal the questions as well? I’ve got a couple of writers I’d like to tag :)

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Jami Gold October 25, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Hi Amanda,

Oh, I’m sorry you won’t be able to join us. To make it up to you, I dub you an honorary recipient of The Next Big Thing Blog Hop too. *uses two hands to keep from clonking you* :) Thanks for the comment!

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AJ Bradley October 25, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Great post Jami; LOVE the unicorn angle and hope I get to read it some day! I’m also a NaNo ‘Rebel’, having written the first quarter of my WIP already and using NaNo to finish it.
Best of luck!

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Jami Gold October 25, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Hi AJ,

Aww, thanks! And yay for NaNo Rebels! *fist bump* Good luck to you too and thanks for the comment!

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Serena October 25, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Mind if I skip the tagging part? I don’t really visit any specific writing websites much (except for this one!)—I just google whatever I’m interested in and don’t pay attention to the names of the bloggers. =(

Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing:

What is your working title of your book?

Lark Arias.

This is the name of the protagonist. For some reason, almost every one of my stories, whether novels or short stories, are named after the main character or main characters. Maybe because the stories are not centered on the story, but on the character(s), if you know what I mean.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Actually, I had a novel I started three to four years ago called “The Last Slice of Space”, a sci fi work. In it are six main characters and I’m aiming to write a backstory for each of them. Lark is one of these characters and this is his backstory. He’s also the most mysterious of the six and I know next to nothing about him so I’m so excited to see how his story will go.

What genre does your book fall under?

Sci-fi and literary fiction. I really like blending both popular and literary classic styles, because I enjoy them both and believe that they both have their strong points that should be brought together.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

My knowledge of celebrities is shockingly limited, so I would not be able to tell you.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

I have no idea because my pure pantsing method involves no foreknowledge.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Self published, just because I want complete freedom to do whatever I want in my work. Especially the freedom to experiment with style as daringly as possible.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

THIS will be my first draft. :)

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

From Sci Fi: Maybe “The Foundation” series by Isaac Asimov? (Because my story will also be set in the unimaginably far future.)

From the literary genre (or is this called “non-genre”?): aiming for “The Mill on the Floss” by George Eliot or “Crime and Punishment” by Dostoyevsky MAY become like “Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo. However, I’m only aiming for their styles. This by no means implies that I will be able to achieve their heights!

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Guess the books mentioned above did. The “Animorphs” series by K.A. Applegate also inspired the novel that Lark originally came from: the idea of a group of kids who become friends and fight side by side against evil.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

This really depends on what kind of reader we’re talking about. Some will hate it, some will think it’s boring, some will despise it, but I believe that some will love it. At the very least, I will love it, since the book is targeted towards my tastes after all—I’m my most important audience. (Lol, yes, ego-centrism. XD)

Okay well to be specific, this might interest sci-fi lovers, but maybe not a whole lot, because classic sci fi is very focused on the setting, not on the characters; whereas in my story, the setting is more in the background, and the story will focus obsessively on the characters. So, I think this novel will be more geared towards literary classic lovers, since I’m aiming for the George Eliot/ Dostoyevsky/ Hugo – esque longish paragraphs with complex, meandering sentences about the characters’ complex, meandering thoughts, feelings, and general psychology.

Also, there will be a great deal of “telling” as well as “showing”. I’m one of those weird readers who actually really love to see telling, and sometimes even prefer to see telling to showing! This might again have been influenced by my love of nineteenth century authors.

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Jami Gold October 25, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Hi Serena,

Absolutely you can share here! I love hearing about everyone’s unique stories. It gives me faith that there are always new stories to tell. :)

I love your pantser answers–I can definitely relate. Since I’m already a quarter into my story, I have a good feel for where it’s going. Otherwise I wouldn’t have known how to answer some of those question either.

And I had to laugh at your answer about celebrities. I’m the same way. For all I know, all of the faces on my Pinterest board are celebrities and I just don’t know it. LOL! Thanks for the comment and good luck on your NaNo project!

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Serena October 26, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Thanks, good luck to you too! We can do it! :D

Hurray for the pantsers, woo hoo!

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Carradee October 25, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Shapeshifting unicorn? *eyes Jami sidelong* That makes me wonder if you’ll be pulling on púka lore, too.

I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ll be working on a classic fantasy novel, A Fistful of Water, book 3 of the Chronicles of Marsdenfel. Follow-up to my novel with the insane narrator. I’ll be self-publishing it, like the other two. Only way I’m not using that title is if I end up writing an entirely different book—which could happen. One year, I did NaNoWriMo from an idea that struck a few nights before. One of these days, I’ll get to adding the missing parts in that.

The idea for A Fistful of Water came from looking at the first book and realizing I had more story to tell after. The major events came together as I was planning the previous book.

Fortunately, this narrator is not insane. She can’t be. She’s very angry and bitter, though—born a nobleman’s daughter, but her father lost the rank due to politics, and her father’s actually illegitimate half-brother to the king. MMC’s the same guy as the previous book, and he’s fun to write. And the narrator will be interacting with the narrators for the previous two books, so that’ll be fun, too.

One-sentence synopsis is still rough, but here goes: Geddis can regain all her father gave up, but it’ll cost all she has to get it.

(Well, it won’t cost her life. But she will pretty much lose everything else—family, friends, reputation, etc.)

I don’t expect to finish it for NaNoWriMo, but that’s because I expect it to clock in at 75k–80k words. If I could finish the first draft by the end of the year, I’ll be downright ecstatic. (I know I’m capable, thanks to the math of how much I can write in a week. But I still need to actually do it—and when that happens, I hope to make a habit of finishing a book every 4 months or fewer.)

I know the beginning, the major events, the end—well, it might end up just being near the end—but the major event that’ll happen. It’s going to be such a sad note to end this part of the series on, but…

It has to happen. It was going to be a worse ending, but I figured out how I could not kill book one’s narrator. (Success!)

Of course, that means I’m back to idea A for how that person will eventually die. (Which would be a sad book in itself.) Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.

*shrug*

Book one in the series has been called “the most different classic fantasy story I’ve ever read” by one reviewer, and book two’s in the same vein. Book three might be the most conventional of the lot, but even then, that’s just in comparison. Reminds me a wee bit of some Sharon Shinn I’ve read.

…I hope that wasn’t TMI. :)

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Jami Gold October 25, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Hi Carradee,

Nope, no púka this time around, but maybe in the next one. You never know–especially I, as a pantser, never know. LOL!

Thanks for sharing! It’s fun to revisit characters from a different POV, isn’t it? And I’m with you about knowing I can write enough in a month. It’s more about actually doing it. :) Good luck on your NaNo project and thanks for the comment!

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Carradee October 27, 2012 at 8:10 am

So no púka lore intended, but it’s a possibility. Especially now that someone else has brought that idea to your muse’s attention? :p

May your own NaNoWriMo project go well. :)

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Jami Gold October 27, 2012 at 8:24 am

Hi Carradee,

LOL! Exactly. ;) Thanks!

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Todd Moody October 25, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Hi Jami!
I’ve been trapped at work and was home long enough to sleep for 5 hours and go back this morning, and got your tweet. I am finally at home with a little time, and you are going to make me work on a new blog post. ;) The one sentence synopsis is going to be tough, but I’ll do my best. I am honored that you chose me!

As far a Nano goes I am way more ready than ever before for this try. I won two years ago and will be using that as the kernel for my master’s thesis actually. I haven’t read those words in a very long time, but I’m sure there is a lot of rambling. I didn’t get very far last year before aborting. Both of those were straight up seat of the pants efforts.

For this one I have most of the characters fleshed out and the story arc built and the first 8 chapters outlined. Kind of ridiculously prepared for what I am used to, :)

I have to work all weekend so I’m not sure how much farther along I’ll be before the 1st. I also have to fly during the day on the 1st, which normally I look forward to, but not this time, I will be thinking about how much time I’m wasting not writing. My wife is steadying herself for my likely obsessive behavior. I promised not to be this time. Hehe.

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Todd Moody October 25, 2012 at 5:16 pm

BTW, I’m looking forward to cheering you on, Jami, during Nanowrimo! I am buddies with Gene too. I am Kardaen on there if anyone else wants some more cheerleading. I already put my book snippet up on there and a little banner. :)

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Jami Gold October 25, 2012 at 8:33 pm

Thanks Todd! *stocks up on pompons* :)

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Jami Gold October 25, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Hi Todd,

LOL! You don’t have to do a blog post for the tagging thing. (Janice–who tagged me–admitted she’d been tagged 3 times before succumbing. I certainly haven’t done much with most of these things. :) )

Oh, I’ll be interested to hear how your experiment with outlining goes. :) Good luck to you (and your wife!) on your NaNo project and thanks for the comment!

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Todd Moody October 25, 2012 at 7:30 pm

It’s up!

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Jami Gold October 25, 2012 at 8:42 pm

Hi Todd,

How fun!

Everyone, you can find Todd’s answer to the tagging here. :)

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Rinelle Grey October 26, 2012 at 10:58 pm

Ohh, that story sounds fascinating! And I thought you did a great job of the one sentence summary (it’s always so hard!)

I’ll be a NaNo rebel this year too, I want to get the sequel to my current novel finished.

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Jami Gold October 27, 2012 at 8:23 am

Hi Rinelle,

Thanks! Okay, maybe I’m getting better at the one-liner, but I still definitely suck at queries. ;) *fist bump to the NaNo Rebel* Good luck on finishing your project and thanks for the comment!

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Angela Orlowski-Peart October 29, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Yay for the NaNo Rebels! I’ve decided to do my own version of a mini NaNo alongside the real thing. Me and another YA paranormal romance writer, pledged to finish our novellas by the end of November. We are rebels then, and it feels good :-)

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Jami Gold October 29, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Hi Angela,

Yay! *fist bump* For me, the point of NaNo is to push yourself and make writing part of every day. I’d say your mini NaNo qualifies. :) Thanks for the comment!

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Krysta October 29, 2012 at 9:09 pm

It’s great to see another NaNo-er and I love a fresh take on unicorns. I tend to use NaNo for a heavily detailed outline for stories. It’ll still be 50k (on each story), but the first draft tends to be completely different from this outline. I’ll be working on “Cyndia” and it’s brother/sequel “Jason” as a month long break from editing my first novel “Number 84″.

I do have to agree that one-line synopsis are hard (and easy) at the same time. Summarizing the main concept is easy. Making the synopsis catchy and showing how it is original in one line is hard. Here is mine:

Cyndia searches for her aunt’s murderer, but truth is, she wants to leave isolationist country. (But she meets a group of people and finds out that the murderer(s) are still active, what will she do?)

Jason travels back in time to rewrite the future so his brother can prevent a second global tragedy. (But why wait for his brother to prevent the tragedy when Jason could save the world by himself?)

Parenthesis are the stuff I want to stick into the first sentence as well, but it would make the sentence too long.

Good luck on your NaNo project! (I might be stalking you from now on…)

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Jami Gold October 29, 2012 at 9:20 pm

Hi Krysta,

LOL! at the stalking. I’m “Jami Gold” on the NaNo site if you want to be Writing Buddies.

Oh yes, the logline. It’s so hard to fit everything you want into those few words. I’m a big fan of the “em” dash to add extra information. :) Good luck on your NaNo project too! And thanks for the comment!

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Krysta October 30, 2012 at 7:28 am

I’m Airen Rin on the NaNo site, just so you don’t think that some creeper is stalking you.

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Jami Gold October 30, 2012 at 7:49 am

Hi Krysta,

Added you back and saw this in your bio: “May turn violent if hands are not typing as fast as train of thought.”

LOL! So true. :) Thanks for the comment!

Reply

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